Soccer – The Cord The tie that binds Wilfrid Laurier University since 1926 Sat, 22 Sep 2018 22:23:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Soccer – The Cord 32 32 42727683 Alyssa Lagonia has exceeded all expectations after graduating from Laurier Wed, 21 Mar 2018 11:00:07 +0000

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Wilfrid Laurier University graduate Alyssa Lagonia has taken her soccer career to another level after graduation.

The former Golden Hawk is currently playing professional soccer overseas for Cyprus club Apollon Ladies F.C., along with playing for the Canadian women’s national soccer team.

It’s been a long journey for Lagonia, as after graduating from Laurier, she has gone on to play for several teams including the Toronto Lady Lynx, the Doncaster Rovers Football Club in England, and FC Neunkirch in Switzerland, where she captained a championship winning team.

For Lagonia, her ambition to play professional soccer was something she already had in mind during her time at Laurier.

“It was definitely my goal [to play professional soccer] when I was competing for Laurier. [Laurier head coach Barry] MacLean has played a big part in me living my dream. He really helped me take all the necessary steps in the right direction and I’m very thankful for that,” Lagonia said.

Lagonia has succeeded with all of the six professional teams that she has been a part of in her post-Laurier career, and that doesn’t come as a surprise.

The Kitchener native was the recipient of numerous awards during her playing career with the Hawks. In her four years at Laurier, Lagonia won the Rookie of the Year award in 2008, she was named the Laurier Team MVP in 2012 along with being named the OUA West MVP in 2011, and she was also selected as Canada’s Most Outstanding women’s soccer player during her final year at Laurier.

With her brilliant personality and hardworking attitude, you can expect big things from Alyssa Lagonia even after she’s finished doing what she does best.

If you add on the multiple all-star and all-Canadian awards along with playing for the Canadian Under-20 World Cup team it’s fair to say that Lagonia’s Laurier soccer career was nothing short of phenomenal.

Lagonia mentioned that her achievements and experience at Laurier have been a big part of her success at the professional level.

“During my first year [at Laurier], the team consisted of a lot of rookies. This forced us to really play together and as a team, and that’s something I’m never going to forget. That experience has definitely played a huge role in my success after my graduation.”

Apollon Ladies F.C is Lagonia’s sixth professional soccer team, and her third pro soccer team in Europe. Lagonia began her European playing career when she signed with the Doncaster Rovers in 2012.

Transitioning from playing soccer in Canada to playing soccer in Europe is a major challenge for anyone, but Lagonia has shown that the higher level of competition is going to slow her down.

“It was obviously difficult at first adapting to the European style of play and culture here, but the beautiful thing about soccer is that it’s a universal sport. At the end of the day, I’m just going out there and doing what I love,” she said.

Lagonia graduated from Laurier with a degree in business administration and she intends to put that degree to use once her playing career is over.

“I have already applied for the FIFA Sport Management Master’s program. I want to make a change and help promote women’s soccer and the role that women play in the sport so I’m going to make sure that soccer is a part of my life even after I’m done playing,” Lagonia said.

With her brilliant personality and hardworking attitude, you can expect big things from Alyssa Lagonia even after she’s finished doing what she does best.

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Laurier’s season comes to a tough end Wed, 01 Nov 2017 10:59:14 +0000

File Photo/ by Garrison Oosterhof

Playoffs are an exciting enough time for sports fans, but to be treated to a trilogy was definitely a nice surprise for fans of Wilfrid Laurier University women’s soccer team.

The trilogy began as the Golden Hawks faced the McMaster Marauders on  Oct. 25.

The game started out with a great level of energy and intensity from Laurier, as the rest that their starters were given this past week looked like it had paid dividends.

It started with a strong defensive display by Nicole Lyon in Mac’s zone and from there the team would follow suit with a flurry of chances.

The Marauders would not back down; showing they could match the intensity but Laurier proved they showed up to win.

“[It goes] up and down,” he continued. “We had a number of really good performances along the way [but] we had a lot of mediocre performances too.”

After plenty of opportunities, the Hawks would open the scoring, as Maxine Murchie would score with a header from a cross by Nicole Lyon off of a free kick in minute 44.

The second half would not only come with more chances, but great goalkeeping.

In minute 57, Mac managed to get a breakaway, and when everyone thought it would be 1-1, Ashley Almeida said “no way, no how” with a spectacular save.

Minute 70 is where Laurier would put the game away, as Maxine Murchie would score again, breaking through Mac’s defense, beating the goalkeeper and putting the ball into the empty net.

With strong defense, great goalkeeping and even better offensive play carrying them through, the Hawks would win 2-0, advancing to play Guelph next.

“It’s one of our better performances on the year,” head coach, Barry MacLean said. “On balance, we were sharp on almost every level. We had a bit of a 10 or 15-minute lapse in the middle of the second half where we gave up a few chances but I thought we played with the ball very well.”

“We were organized and we stuck to our game plan well and we finished two good chances; our goalkeeping was excellent.”

Up next the Golden Hawks faced off against the Guelph Gryphons – who would present a bigger challenge – on Oct. 29. 

The Gryphons came out to play, early and fast, while the same could not be said for the Hawks.

After managing to get a couple of opportunities off corners, Guelph would open the scoring in a goal by Victoria Hinchliffe in minute seven.

As the first half wore on, Laurier seemed to settle in a bit more but still did not play at a high level.

“The first half I think we were just a little bit erratic, and I think the goal was offside but we’ll see when I see the video,” coach MacLean said.

“But I didn’t think that we played our game, we kind of got settled into how they were playing which was a bit more disjointed.”

The second half would not get any easier for the Golden Hawks.

After a couple of opportunities for both sides, the Gryphons would score in minute 55 on a high shot by Vanessa Mazur that goalkeeper Ashley Almeida couldn’t get a piece of.

Following that would be another goal by Mazur in minute 61, making it 3-0.

Down, but not out, Laurier would show resilience in a time when most would say the game was over.

“Yeah, [the] reality was, we were still fighting at 3-0 and we thought we could still get back in the game but we were pushing numbers forward so, when you push numbers forward, you’re always susceptible at the back, and we got punished for that,” coach MacLean said.

As the game was coming to a close, Guelph managed to score twice more in minutes 87 and 89, making the final score 5-0. 

“I don’t think we had a good game, full stop. I don’t think it was a 5-0 game and I’ve never experienced losing 5-0 before so, tough on. But, they wanted it more than us in reality, we didn’t compete as well as we should have,” coach MacLean said.

“[It goes] up and down,” he continued. “We had a number of really good performances along the way [but] we had a lot of mediocre performances too.”

“It’s a team hopefully that’s growing, we’re only losing one player. So, on balance, I think that we’ve got a lot of growth in us and we just need to get some other bodies healthy and we need to add depth to our roster.”

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Golden Hawks extend win streak against the Marauders Wed, 04 Oct 2017 11:01:37 +0000

Photo by Will Borys

Coming off of two straight wins last weekend versus Algoma, the Golden Hawks came out looking to get a third straight and continue their high level of play against the McMaster Marauders.

On a day where the weather was favouring nobody, the women put on one of their best performances of the season to date.

McMaster would come out strong, managing to get a couple of shots on goal within the first couple of minutes of the game but by the five-minute mark, the game was delayed due to lightning in the area.

After a half-hour delay – with the weather clearing up – both squads would make their way back to the field to resume play.

The Marauders would continue holding onto the momentum until they ended up scoring on their own net in minute 39. The credit would go to Maxine Murchie, pushing her season total to four.

From there on, Laurier would take over momentum as McMaster nearly put in another own-goal and the Hawks started to create more chances.

“There was a heavy wind and we were playing into it and we chose to do that because we wanted to deal with the wind in the first half,” head coach, Barry MacLean said.

“So, we were more than happy to concede possession and let them come at us, we didn’t wanna break defensively and hit them on any kind of counters we got and we were lucky we got one. We almost got a second in that same situation.”

The arrival of the second half would show the Golden Hawks putting on display the type of offensive firepower that MacLean expects.

“I think, for me, this is the first time we played 90 minutes, where everybody committed to their role for the full 90 minutes and I thought at times we looked really good and very dangerous going forward and we finished chances which was great.”

By minute 51, Pauline McCordic would score on a pretty shot out of reach of Deanna Persico of McMaster, making the score 2-0. 12 minutes later, Laurier would add another goal courtesy of Emily Tamburro.

Gagan Parhar would add to the score making it 4-0 on a sweet header off the corner kick from Nicole Lyon in minute 70.

With Laurier pouring it on them, McMaster would start playing an up-tempo game in an attempt to really turn the pressure up on Laurier and mount some sort of comeback.

With the exception of a goal from Jade Smith in minute 75 to make it 4-1, Laurier would manage to hold their own despite the Marauders being able to effectively create some chances.

“We gave up a couple of chances,” Maclean said, “I would like to make sure that we don’t do [that] in the future.”

“But I think we handled it well and our goalkeeper managed the game well and we managed our time well,” MacLean said.

“I was pleased with everything.”

In regards to his team’s performance, Coach Maclean voiced his pleasure with the teams more recent successes, noting an improvement that looks hopeful for the future.

“I think, for me, this is the first time we played 90 minutes, where everybody committed to their role for the full 90 minutes and I thought at times we looked really good and very dangerous going forward and we finished chances which was great,” he said.

“I was happy with the overall performance.”

With the Hawks playing at a high-level on offense, as well as defense and goalkeeper Ashley Almeida playing really well, they have begun to look like the team Coach Maclean has expected them to be.

Moving up to 5-2-4 now, they will look to continue their high-level play versus Waterloo next Friday following their game at Guelph.

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Men’s soccer unable to hold onto win against McMaster Wed, 04 Oct 2017 11:00:50 +0000

Photo by Garrison Oosterhof

The Laurier men’s soccer team battled with the McMaster Marauders on Friday. The game ended with a late goal by McMaster resulting in a disappointing tie for Laurier.

Coming off a two game win streak, the Hawks played Friday’s game with competitive confidence.

The start of the season has been difficult for the Hawks, Coach Halapir remarked, “We don’t want to be losing points from here on in and in the last five games, fair enough, three wins one tie one loss, will take that.”

Laurier opted to play the first half of the match running against the wind for the chance to work with the wind in the end. Even with this disadvantage, Laurier applied strong pressure to the McMaster defence and earned several scoring chances due to winning one on one foot battles.

McMaster opened the scoring with a quick goal to take the lead in the first 15 minutes. Laurier’s offensive play was a strong response to the McMaster goal; creating several scoring chances and a strike that went off the post.

“It’s got to be the mentality, we go into every game believing and knowing that we should be able to compete with every team that we play. It’s just that that’s not always an easy thing to do.”

Mid way through the first half, the game reached a stalemate. Both teams played a smart passing game to control play and work toward a scoring chance.

Finally, near the end of the first half, Laurier capitalized on a penalty kick to tie the game up going into the break.

However, the Marauders came out of the break with a new found energy.

Laurier repelled the McMaster advances and took the lead just 10 minutes into the second half.

Another tough call from the referee gave McMaster the ability to tie up the game in another penalty kick. The rest of the half was a flurry of activity, both teams determined to carve out a win.

In the end a victor couldn’t be decided. Despite Laurier doubling McMasters shots on net, the teams went their own way splitting the two points. McMaster being when of the better teams in their division, Coach Halapir was pleased with Laurier’s effort.

Halapir commented on his team’s winning mentality, saying “It’s got to be the mentality, we go into every game believing and knowing that we should be able to compete with every team that we play. It’s just that that’s not always an easy thing to do.”

“We can talk about it and we can draw it out on the chalkboard, as far as the game plan goes but we still have to execute and I think today overall, we did a pretty good job of that.”


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Laurier women’s soccer complete a two game sweep against York Wed, 13 Sep 2017 10:59:09 +0000

Photo by Luke Sarazin

Coming off their first win of the season – 1-0 versus York on Sept. 3 – the Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks women’s soccer team were looking to complete the sweep this past Friday on home turf at University Stadium.

Laurier started out the game playing with pace, managing to continuously keep the ball in their possession and on the Lions’ side of the field for much of the first half.

Although they had possession for as much as they did, Laurier was incapable of creating much opportunity for themselves to score, with York showing their ability to defend the box and their goal well.

“First half, I think that the other team defended very well, they got a lot of numbers behind the ball and made it compact in front of the goal, so while we got the ball into those areas, they had numbers behind the ball regularly, so it was tough,” Head coach, Barry MacLean said.

“Better than we have [been]. We still have some failings defensively and we’ve got to work on those. We’re getting better though, we’re getting a little bit better positionally, we’re getting a little bit better in transition and reacting to that, so yeah, I was happy today.”

York had even less to show for offensively as their time on Laurier’s side of the field was scarce. They did not show much ability to create any opportunity for themselves to have a chance of scoring.

Both teams playing strong defensively – but not having much to show for on offence – would turn out to be the story of the first half.

“Both teams that were playing today are possession type teams and I thought we controlled the ball coming out of the back very well,” MacLean said.

“But we didn’t really penetrate or hurt them in the first half, although we did have a lot of the ball.”

The second half would quickly turn out to be a completely different story from the first.

Laurier got to work fast, as they started out the first few minutes creating multiple chances of scoring.

Then came minute 52, when the breakthrough finally came. Pauline McCordic opened up the scoring for Laurier with a header off an assist from Nicole Lyon for her first goal of the year.

Then would follow Maxine Murchie, who broke away from her defender into the clear to get by York goalie, Tamara Orlando, with ease and score, with the assist from Emily Tamburro, to bring Laurier’s lead to 2-0.

Coming off the bench for Laurier after missing a game, she wasted no time showing off her offensive prowess.

“Second half, I thought we had more of a threat when Maxine came on, she gave us a little bit of time and that made the difference to stretch the game a bit more for us.”

From there on, the Golden Hawks allowed their strong defensive play get them through the rest of the way, holding York from scoring for the second game in a row.

Asked about his team’s ability to defend in this game, Coach MacLean said the following:

“Better than we have [been]. We still have some failings defensively and we’ve got to work on those. We’re getting better though, we’re getting a little bit better positionally, we’re getting a little bit better in transition and reacting to that, so yeah, I was happy today.”

Having the momentum of two straight wins now, the Golden Hawks will look to continue their streak and carry that momentum into their upcoming game in the battle of Waterloo, as they will play the Waterloo Warriors on Sunday.

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Loss against the Mustangs marks the end of a hard fought season for WLU men’s soccer Wed, 02 Nov 2016 11:00:26 +0000
Photo by Marco Pedri

Photo by Marco Pedri

On a cold and windy fall night, the Laurier men’s soccer team played their first playoff match at home against the Western Mustangs.

Heading into the game, everything was looking up for the Golden Hawks, having won three of their last four matches heading into the OUA playoffs and finishing the regular season as the fourth seed in the West.

As the match got underway, the two teams appeared to be feeling each other out. There was lots of midfield play and Western maintained a high press before the first shot came in the 8th minute. Western looked to be the stronger team early, with their press forcing Laurier to try to play longer passes over the Western defence.

The first chance of the match came off of a nifty move on the left wing from Western’s Parker Seymour as he beat his man but couldn’t quite send in a good enough cross.

Then, in the 45th minute, right before the halftime whistle, Laurier’s Luca Moco-Montanaro was played in by Niklas Bauer, but his shot went just wide left of the goal and the first half ended 0-0.

After the match, head coach Mario Halapir spoke about his team’s struggle to get after the opponent in the first half.

“I think we came out a little bit afraid of losing,” he said, “and I think the first half was a very tentative half. It didn’t even look like playoff soccer.”

The second half began with some drama as Western’s Chuka Ononye was yellow carded for a reckless challenge, breaking up a Laurier attack that got both benches up and shouting. After this, both teams settled in and the game began to pick up pace.

More chances went to waste before Western struck in the 74th minute, via striker Braeden Gee.  The goal came on a long throw that confused the Laurier defenders, who weren’t able to clear the ball.

Laurier pressed on, but ultimately couldn’t capture the equalizer and with numbers committed forward, Western’s James O’Callaghan sealed the victory for the away side in the 88th minute.

Halapir wasn’t happy with the performance post-match.

“We did what has hurt us all year. If we don’t follow a game plan it’s very difficult for us to be successful. Two errors and you’re not capitalizing, I think that spells a loss.”

While this loss was a tough pill to swallow, the positive aspects the program can take out of this game is that young star Liam Chong Tai, who was subbed on for the second half, looked bright in his first game as a Golden Hawk.

“[Chong Tai] is going to be a talent. He hasn’t played all season; he broke his ankle six weeks ago so we haven’t had the luxury of having him here,” Halapir said of the first-year player.

“I think he’s got huge promise and I think he made a big impact alone on being able to at least complete a pass or two which we were lacking in the first half.”

Wednesday’s game marked a disappointing end to an otherwise successful season for the men’s soccer team.

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Niklas Bauer is Laurier’s humble soccer star Wed, 02 Nov 2016 11:00:10 +0000
Photo by Victoria Panacci

Photo by Victoria Panacci

Niklas Bauer has been playing soccer since he was five-years-old and much of his time since has been spent honing his craft.

“I’ve been playing pretty much all my life,” said Bauer. “I probably played house league when I was [around] five years old.”

This season, the results of all of his hard work on the soccer field, were on full display.

As a fourth-year business student, hailing from Newmarket, Ontario, Bauer is coming off an incredible season for the Laurier men’s soccer team, where he tied for the OUA league lead in points with 19 in just 14 games and finished second in the OUA in goals with 15, accounting for a little bit over 40 per cent of Laurier’s goals all season.

He was also amongst the CIS leaders in both points and goals.

Bauer was quick to deflect credit for his breakout season away from himself and towards his teammates and the coaching staff.

“[I tried] to involve the team more [and have] more faith in my teammates. A lot of things were clicking this year,” he said.

The new approach paid dividends for the team, as Bauer led the team to its highest win total in 15 years, as well as a playoff berth.

Although the team lost a 2-0 heartbreaker to Western in the first round of the playoffs, Bauer left it all on the field and it showed in his performance all season long. He received provincial recognition this season when he was named the OUA Athlete of the Week twice.

When asked about these achievements, Bauer was quick to praise his teammates, but also acknowledged some personal pride in his accomplishments.

“It was nice to get some individual recognition, but obviously I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” he said.

When asked about the possibility of returning for his final year of eligibility, Bauer did not completely shut the door, but considered it a longshot, as he remains focused on his imminent graduation this spring.

Bauer has remained confident in the team’s ability to succeed with or without his presence.

“If I graduate, it’s probably not in the plans to come back for a fifth year, [but] with [coach] Mario [Halapir] there, they’re on the right track [and] they’ve been getting better year after year.”

After graduation, while he does not yet have any concrete plans, Bauer’s goal is to play soccer professionally and he is willing to travel abroad to earn a shot.

“I would like to, if it’s possible, continue playing [soccer] at the next level, [possibly in] Europe.”

While Bauer’s soccer career at Laurier may be coming to a close, his future is bright, and his soccer story is just beginning.

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Hawks fall to Marauders in spirited soccer match Wed, 26 Oct 2016 11:00:38 +0000
Photo by Marco Pedri

Photo by Marco Pedri

After the women’s soccer game wrapped up, it was time for the men to take the pitch as they were set to host the McMaster Marauders, as well.

In the 10th minute, OUA leading goal scorer, Niklas Bauer, was given a red card and subsequently ejected for kicking one of the Maruaders players in the head as he fell to the ground on the McMaster goal line.

The Marauder’s defender was clearly displeased by the late kick and quickly threw a punch while Bauer was on the ground, but only received a yellow card for his misconduct.

This caused a stir from the rest of the team, who were more than upset at the referee’s judgement on this sequence.

Head coach Mario Halapir was also annoyed that his team has been on the short end of more than a few calls so far this season.

“Being down a man, we’re fucking down a man for 87 minutes of that game. This is a third place game that we’re playing for and you want to give the kids a proper chance to compete for that. When you have refereeing, this isn’t the first time, this is the fourth time this year that we’ve had a game taken away from us by referees. It’s disgusting and shocking. I just don’t see referees capable of doing this level of game. It just shouldn’t be allowed,” Halapir said.

In the 21st minute, the Marauders had a great chance as they chipped the ball behind the Laurier keeper, Rocco Strazzella, but a Laurier defender was able to get back and chip the ball out of the air right before it crossed the goal line to keep this one a scoreless draw.

In the 31st minute, a beautiful chip shot got over the Marauders goalkeeper’s head and a Laurier striker was there to tap it home and give the Golden Hawks a 1-0 lead.

In the 33rd minute, the Marauders answered right back as they ripped a shot past the Laurier keeper.

Halapir was visibly displeased by the missed hand ball from the referee and kicked some pylons onto the pitch after the goal. The referee spoke to Halapir, but nothing further was to come of it.

The game went into the half a 1-1 tie.

The Marauders were pressured after the break and hemmed Laurier into their own half as the Golden Hawks couldn’t get anything going.

It started to look like being down a man for almost the entire game was beginning to catch up with the Golden Hawks.

At the 64th minute, the Marauders were able to convert on a beautiful cross and one touch goal that gave the Marauders a 2-1 lead.

At the 78th minute, the Marauders had a partial break and the Laurier goalkeeper made an incredible jumping save to keep the deficit to only one.

In the 83rd minute, Laurier conceded another goal after from another nice cross in the box that managed to beat the Laurier goalkeeper.

Laurier was unable to come back and dropped this crucial third place match 2-1 to the Mauraders..

“I’m proud of them. There’s not much else you can say. We work so hard to take anything away from our guys for working as hard as they did. I don’t want to do that. We made some crucial errors even though we were down a man, but we made some crucial errors and all of our hard work almost went to waste, but I give every one of our guy’s credit for the way they competed out there,” Halapir said.

Halapir finally reflected on the game by saying, “We’ve got to pick up our heads. This game is done like every other game we’ve played before. It’s disappointing, but we have to move on.”

The Golden Hawks playoffs begin tonight as they host the Western Mustangs at University Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. as the two sides battle it out under the lights

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Bishop’s lone goal not enough to lead Hawks to victory Wed, 26 Oct 2016 11:00:20 +0000

On a rainy Thursday evening at University Stadium, the Laurier women’s soccer team suited up to face the McMaster Marauders.

This one had a steady pace early on, with both teams exchanging possession of the ball.

At the 29th minute, the Marauders struck first as they rushed down the far side of the field and managed a score on a high shot over the head of Laurier goalkeeper, Ashley Almeida.

The Golden Hawks managed to gain some momentum near the end of the half when they had a corner kick and a chance in close, but the McMaster goalkeeper continued to stand tall and keep the Marauder’s up 1-0 as the teams broke for half.

Laurier had a quick start to the second half, until the 48th minute when a Marauder attacker was able to sneak through the Laurier defence and gave herself a breakaway.

The initial shot was turned aside by the Laurier keeper, but the Marauders forward was able to pick up her own rebound and head it into the back of the Laurier net.

The Marauders then had a two goal lead with 42 minutes remaining in the match.

McMaster had gained the momentum and continued to attack.

At the 58-minute mark, Laurier keeper, Ashley Almeida, made a beautiful jumping save off a McMaster corner, kick bailing her team on a play that looked to be almost a sure goal with three McMaster players around the ball and a Laurier defender no where to be found.

Ten minutes later at the 68-minute mark, a Marauders player was given a yellow card after she came too close and intentionally blocked a Laurier free kick that was awarded from an aggressive tackle.

The Golden Hawks struggled in this one, getting the net on goal as it seemed that every opportunity they had to take a shot on net the ball ended up going wide of the McMaster goal.

At the 72nd minute, Katie Bishop showed the rest of the team how it was done as she took a long shot from 35-yards out that hit the post and rolled on the line before crossing the goal line and giving the Golden Hawks their first score of the game with just under 20 minutes to play.

The goal seemed to give the Golden Hawks new life as they gained the momentum and began to press for the equalizer in the final 10 minutes of this one.

The Hawks couldn’t seem to get any quality chances towards the goal and ended up dropping the contest 2-1.

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Midterm grades for the Golden Hawks Wed, 19 Oct 2016 11:00:05 +0000

Sports editor, Rob Fifield, takes a look back on how the Laurier teams have faired this season

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